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France, 1970 (MIFF 1972)

Director: Walerian Borowczyk

The second live feature of noted Polish director of animated films, Walerian Borowczyk, is a bizarre and beautiful re &ndash: creation of a series of events that take place in a medieval castle.

A 13th century lord leads a peaceful, isolated existence in his castle, together with his virtuous young wife, Blanche, and his son by a previous marriage. When the King and his womanising page come to stay in the castle, both are captivated by Blanche's inaccessible beauty and turn all their efforts to seducing her.

The film moves from comic charm into a chain reaction of passions, both sublime and cruel, which disrupts the castle life.

Blanche is a free adaptation of Juliusz Slowacki's romantic drama, "Mazepa" —a story of love fighting and struggling to remain pure amid the confusion of jealousy, pettiness and misunderstanding. Without making any allusions to current problems, and remaining within its period, the film makes a more universal statement, true of any age, about innocence destroyed by man's own weaknesses.

“There is the music of the time, a well chosen castle, extraordinary costuming and a simplicity in language, that make this tale both comic and dramatic portent charming, ingratiating, and finally moving, as violence and death break into this mannered chateau life.

“Full of manners, the drama and the courtly intrigues of the time, it is a beguiling, hypnotically fascinating film...” Mosk in Variety

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